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Try Something New

Here’s my advice for how teachers can play a more active role in education reformation-try something new.

This may be something new in your classroom such as Paula White details.

Or it may be a new school as Chad Sansing writes about.

If you follow Aaron Eyler’s advice then your action might be not following the latest trend or the pack.

Casey Caronna suggests being a prominent voice through self-promotion, striking, and demonstrating.

My advice is try anyone of these if it something you haven’t done before. We all have our bag of tricks of what works for us (and what doesn’t) and we must forever try to expand our toolkit. We never know what the tipping point will be, which straw will break the camel’s back.

Innovation only happens through trying something new.

Some other suggestions I have are:

  • Show up to your School Board meeting, tell them your story, about your work, and how you think reform efforts need to be directed.
  • Make an appointment with your legislators. See above for what to say.
  • Hold a community meeting
  • Have a conversation with a colleague that you haven’t had before about reform
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Start a collaborative blog or book club focused on reform

Try something new and let me know how it goes.

And it has been mentioned this week that what we really need is cultural reform. I have two things to say about that. Yes, that’s absolutely true. And it starts with you.

With hope,

Adam

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About Adam Burk

Adam aims to serve the greater good; alleviate unnecessary suffering; and create beautiful, sane human communities in concert with the living planet. Recently, he has helped to rebuild local food systems in Maine in large part through school food services, organized the TEDxDirigo conference, and is a digital organizer with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA).

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Try Something New

  1. Adam,

    I love the simplicity and directness (word?) of your point here. I’ll add one thing that might be worth considering: do we want to have everyone in the building try something new, or do we want to have five or six pockets of teachers trying new things to reform?

    I like pockets. Especially chaotic ones that light a fire under each other and pass ideas willingly across lines for others to improve on. Research & development doesn’t just happen when we decide on a new program. It should happen while we are using it as well.

    Posted by Aaron Eyler | May 6, 2010, 9:32 pm
    • Aaron, at some point you need allies, but I wouldn’t necessarily wait for them. If they’re there, then great. If not try something new, and at some point they will show up as long as you don’t alienate everyone acting holier-than-thou.

      Adam

      Posted by Adam Burk | May 7, 2010, 5:48 am
  2. I think as a matter of choice, both should be a option. I could see Adam’s post presented at a staff meeting and discuss….without the need for teachers to sign up so to speak. Just asked to try something new and see what it sparks. The simplicity is nice and not overwhelming.

    Posted by dloitz | May 6, 2010, 10:51 pm
  3. A friend and I have been discussing the issue of cultural reform through the study of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam,” since January of this year. If you take the next 4 minutes to listen to this speech it has the potential to change the rest of your life and history.

    Posted by Adam Burk | May 10, 2010, 6:00 am

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